Certification and Traceability
Insist on certification and traceability. There is no substitute. If you are
committing a sizable chunk of funding to purchase toolholders, don’t
hesitate to ask how they are made, how they are inspected and how they are
Ask how long the company has been
manufacturing that style of holder, if, indeed, they do manufacture it. If
someone offers to sell you an HSK63A collet chuck for $75.00, you can
probably take a pretty good guess as to the quality level of that chuck.
Reasonably, any vendor should be willing to talk about the gauging that they
use, and the certification process for both the tooling and their gauges.
Spindles and Spindle Shaft
When you are buying a spindle or a replacement spindle shaft, it gets even
Very few manufacturers have the gauging necessary to properly grind the HSK
taper in a spindle shaft. By the time you get to the level of the rebuilder
or the job shop making an HSK spindle shaft for a manufacturer, the
likelihood of finding a good, certified gauge is slim indeed.
There are actually spindles made by
companies using blueing and toolholders as a gauge, and service people for
those companies using hand-held die grinders to relieve the drive keys
inside the taper to allow a toolholder to fit. This is on a spindle taper
with tolerancing in the micron range … is your hand that steady?
Before committing to buy a spindle or a
spindle shaft from a company ask the following:
- What type of gauging are you using to
verify the taper and what is your certification program for the shafts?
- Will you guarantee that the taper meets
the standard that it is purportedly being manufactured to?
- Do you have a scheduled gauge master
recalibration/ recertification program in place?
- Are your workers conversant with the
gauging and with the applicable standards?
All of these questions asked before
a purchase, can save you thousands of dollars and much heartache down the
Now that you’ve heard enough about your suppliers gauging, let’s talk about
your own! Many shops have decided that due to the (relatively) high cost of
HSK toolholders, they would like to be able to check the holders that they
buy. This is strongly encouraged, because, frankly, it thins out the
Gauging is available in several different
configurations to suit your needs. As far as cost, you may spend up to about
$10,000 to get gauges and masters—whether you’re using air-gauging or hard
gauging—but if you are buying large quantities of tooling, or maintaining
several HSK machine tools in a shop, then you will amortize the cost of the
gauging very quickly.
Last but not least, let’s talk about where you’re going to put all that nice
new HSK tooling. Many shops store their HSK tools in much the same way as
they store their 7/24 taper tools, which leads to the need for more
Keeping in mind, once again the tolerances
that the HSK system uses, it’s important to store the tools in such a way
that they don’t become damaged by contact with other tools, chips, dirt,
The best storage solutions have some type
of door to keep off curious hands and individual pockets to hold the tools.
Many people overlook this part of the equation, but proper care of your
toolholders is as important as choosing the correct ones in the first place.